Government availing shacks humiliating

22 September 2020 | Opinion

In January 2019, President Hage Geingob described shacks (corrugated iron homes) as a 'humanitarian crisis'. “We have a crisis where human beings are staying in conditions that are unbearable,” Geingob was quoted as saying at an event at State House, described by critics as an election ploy. The President responded that he meant each one of his words and that he had no election in mind when he made the audacious remarks. Fast forward to last Friday and government was, with a great sense of accomplishment, handing over shacks to marginalised communities in Kavango West. The Office of the Prime Minister contributed the larger chunk to the construction of the shacks, met nearly halfway by the ministry of gender equality. The occasion was characterised by pomp and fanfare and village headmen of the 'beneficiary' villages were summoned to the podium to thank government for homes that, rather degradingly, have no bathrooms and showers. Children pounded drums for the dignitaries who, in their delusional sense of triumph, waxed lyrical about government's commitment to serving the people. While many people questioned the N$1.4 million spent on 33 shacks, our concern is more fundamental: No government should avail shacks to its citizens except in emergency situations of disasters. While the world is working towards eliminating shacks, the Namibian government is hard at work building them for its citizen.

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